So, let's discuss the wonderful pho now that we've got all that straightened out. Pho is a Vietnamese soup, involving flat, wide rice noodles, beef broth, sliced beef, meatballs sometimes, onions, and usually a platter of bean sprouts, basil, limes, jalapenos, and often culantro, not to be mistaken for it's cousin, cilantro. This platter is usually picked from and put into the soup; I like to tear the herb leaves apart and let them steep in the broth, along with the jalapeños for heat, which I never actually eat; I take them back out towards the end to avoid the old "chunk of jalapeño stuck in the pipes when pouring hot broth down one's throat" conundrum, which is hilarious for dining companions, onlookers, and cartoons, but bad for short-range throat health. Heat can also be added, if desired, with the beloved Sriracha sauce. And since slurping is sort of obligatory, I don't worry about using a spoon for the broth.
All of this backs up the one word uttered most when I hear people talk about pho: restorative. Even if you aren't a big booze hound who needs a delicious hangover cure because you knocked back several Manhattans with your beloved at the Green Mill the night before, pho will bring you back from anything. The broth is full of time and love and history, and the salt probably doesn't hurt either. You're obliged to have your face in the broth as you slurp up the noodles, and the rising steam will open all the sinuses and pores and get things running right again. The noodles are hearty and chewy and so satisfying like all noodles are, and the beef's, well, it's beef, and sometimes that's just what you need in your gut when nursing a hangover. If you're more adventurous, you can add soft, chewy tendon to the bowl as well, and even some tripe if you aren't afraid of a little stomach in your stomach.
Plus, the great thing about pho is that it isn't dependent on the season. It'll make you sweat in the hot hot summer, cooling you off; in the winter it'll warm you right up. And after you make your way through the noodles, which for me, always seems to happen too fast, you can add more bean sprouts and herbs to the bowl, and slurp everything down to the last bits of the meaty broth. Then, as you pay the meager bill and leave into the day outside, be it hot or cold, whether you are sweating out last night's alcohol or the season's flu, something in your gut makes you feel that all is well.